There are many moments from 9/11 none of us will ever forget. I won’t recount them now, because I already did two years ago – and once was enough.
Except for one particular moment.
Around 8pm Mountain on 9/11, some talking head on CNN or FNC or MSNBC said they feared as many as 20,000 people might have been killed. I remember that moment quite clearly because I ran directly to the bathroom and threw up.
When I read last week that 25,000 people might have died in Louisiana and Mississippi, I didn’t even get queasy. It’s not that I care less for people in the South than I do people in the Northeast. Far from it. It’s because I learned a valuable lesson on 9/11: The human animal can be a remarkably tough creature to kill. Whatever the initial prediction is, divide by ten for a worst-case estimate.
Barely ten days after Katrina did her damnedest to ruin a great American city, we’re finding that maybe the damage wasn’t as bad as we were first told, and that maybe far fewer people died that we first feared.
Of course, many many thousands of people still lost everything they owned. Others were killed, not by the hurricane or her aftermath, but by human predators hunting in her wake. There are sons and daughters and mothers and fathers to bury – too many, no matter what the final tally is.
But as of right now, it seems our worst fears haven’t been realized. And for that, all of us can be thankful.